CS Ababu Gifts Junior Starlets Ksh10M After World Cup Qualification

CS Ababu Gifts Junior Starlets Ksh10M After World Cup Qualification
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Namwamba expressed his gratitude to the team for their performance at the Ulinzi Sports Complex in Nairobi, asserting that it was the perfect Father’s Day gift.

Sports Cabinet Secretary (CS) Ababu Namwamba on Monday, June 17 announced that the Ministry of Sports awarded Ksh10 million to the Kenya U17 women’s national football team, commonly known as the Junior Starlets.

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The amount was divided into Ksh300,000 for each player after the Starlets made history, qualifying for the FIFA Under-17 World Cup for the first time ever following a 5-0 win on aggregate against Burundi.

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Namwamba expressed his gratitude to the team for their performance at the Ulinzi Sports Complex in Nairobi, asserting that it was the perfect Father’s Day gift.

Valerie Nekesa celebrates after scoring for Kenya’s Junior Starlets against Burundi at Ulinzi Sports Complex in Nairobi on June 16, 2024. /HARAMBEE STARLETS

“It is a pleasure to cheer and support you. An honour to reward you with Kshs 10 million in recognition of your historic achievement of getting to the very summit. The first Kenyan team ever to qualify for a FIFA World Cup at any level.

“You have made our country proud and pumped incredible wind in the sails of women’s football in Kenya. We honour you, Junior Starlets. HONGERA!” the CS remarked. Ababu also hosted the girls for dinner after the match

The Junior Starlets beat the Burundians 2-0 at Ulinzi on Sunday, winning the final qualification tie with a 5-0 aggregate score that assures them of a place in the Dominican Republic in October this year.

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Speaking after the game, the CS was delighted with the girls’ performance, saying it showed that the ‘bottom-up’ model in the Talanta Hela Initiative was starting to bear fruit.

“This is mind-blowing. It is not every day that you witness the writing of history. We have never been close to any Kenyan team playing at the World Cup. These girls have written history and I am proud of them,” the CS said.

On his part, Football Kenya Federation (FKF) boss Nick Mwendwa was also elated with the qualification, saying it showed their investment in youth development was starting to bear fruit.

“I have always said that our women’s football is the single biggest area of growth in Kenyan football. We are proud of the team. We have a fantastic team, they know how to win and we are delighted with the support that we have seen. This is the product of continuous, consistent work,” Mwendwa said after the game.

Starlets is one of three African countries, including Nigeria and Zambia, who will play at the 2024 U17 World Cup in the Dominican Republic.

The Kenyan girls earned qualification without conceding a goal and scoring eight goals in four matches.

With this victory, the Junior Starlets became the first team in the whole country to ever qualify for a FIFA World Cup.

CS Ababu Namwamba celebrates Junior Starlets’ 2-0 victory over Burundi on June 16, 2024. /ABABU NAMWAMBA

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